A few weeks ago, the brake pad wear light appeared on my Mini’s dash. After conferring with several Mini-owning friends and colleagues, I decided to give it a go myself.
I’m not a mechanic by any stretch, but I didn’t have the will or the money to pay full-price at the dealer (which could have run as much as $1200, from what I’ve been told). Paying $83 for pads sounded like a much better deal. I also spent around $15 on a new brake pad sensor cable, both ordered from Auto Parts Warehouse. The car has almost 50,000 miles and the rotors looked fine to my untrained eye, so I decided to wait on those.
The Mini has two brake pad sensors (front left and rear right), so I wasn’t 100% sure which one was triggering the light. Visually, they all looked about the same to me. I started on the front, though, as it is an easier replacement job and usually wears out first.
Based on recommendations, I ordered EBC Red Stuff pads and used this online tutorial for guidance.
The job went smoothly for the most part–the only difficulty was getting the replacement sensor cable in place. The CRC Disc Brake Quiet junk was a little messy too, but I think I got it applied in the right spots.
After I finished, the tutorial was right on about the brake pedal going all the way to the floor. Pumping it a few times returned the feel to normal and my short test drive around the block produced no unusual noises. I drove it to the Wild game and the brake feel was fine.
Despite trying the ignition trick with the flat tire button, the damn yellow warning light is still lit. So I either A) didn’t install the replacement cable correctly, B) the new cable is broken, C) I don’t know the “real” trick to turn it off or D) it was back sensor cable all along. I just ordered the special tool kit to compress and twist the rear pistons, so I’ll probably order new rear pads soon and attempt that job too (online tutorial for that here).
My first auto mechanic experience has been documented for posterity in the Mini Gallery.
Originally published by DK on November 19, 2007 at 12:58 am